Review by: Eduardo Zacarias
Publisher: VIZ Media
Author: Tite Kubo
Genre: Graphic Novel (Shonen Jump Manga)
MSRP: $9.99 US
Rating: T (Teen)
Release Date: Available Now
The rumble in Las Noches begins.
We already know that Ichigo Kurosaki is willing to go into dangerous and unknown territory to save a friend seeing as he had done so before when Rukia was taken back to the Soul Society. He has done so again in order to save Orihime from the Arrancars led by Lord Aizen. Of course, in order to save her he and his friends must go through the Arrancars first as we see can see in Volume 29 of Bleach.
Having infiltrated Las Noches, the stronghold that houses Lord Aizen and his Arrancar followers, Ichigo and his friends split up to cover more ground. Doing so, however, has placed them in a situation where they could get ambushed by the enemy and that’s exactly what happens. While Renji and Rukia have yet to encounter any resistance, it is Ichigo, Uryu and Chad that find themselves in individual battles.
Ichigo’s opponent is a flashy Arrancar by the name of Dordoni who began the fight by hilariously Flamenco dancing his way to Ichigo and his companion Nel. While Ichigo trained to take on the Arrancars, he didn’t quite expect even a low ranked Arrancar like Dordoni to give him such a hard time. While his opponent goads him on and requests to see Ichigo’s Bankai as well as his other abilities, Ichigo refuses and ends up on the receiving end of quite a beating. Dordoni’s mission is to take his place among Lord Aizen’s Espadas but in order to do so he must defeat Ichigo in a true battle.
Fortunately for Ichigo, Nel steps in to defend him. She has come to not only like Ichigo but come to do whatever she can to see that nothing happens to him. While a mere child, Nel shows a power that impresses even Dordoni and it isn’t until the Arrancar decides to hurt Ichigo that the Substitute Soul Reaper unleashes not only his Bankai but also his Hollow power.
Meanwhile, Uryu finds himself in a battle against another Arrancar that goes by the name Cirucci Sanderwicci who attempts to slice the young Quincy to ribbons with her weapon. Unlike Dordoni, Cirucci is dead set on killing Uryu who moves a lot more quickly than she anticipated. While Uryu can’t seem to hit her with his spirit bow, he gets aid from the most unlikely person … the Hollow known as Pesche who is one of Nel’s two other companions. With the help of Pesche, Uryu is able to finally take on Cirucci one-on-one even though the Arrancar shows her other dangerous form.
It’s clear from Uryu’s battle with Cirucci that his training with his father paid off big time and he pulls out a few surprises in the fight that shows his new strength as a Quincy. That includes a new type of weapon that, in the end, proves to be a remarkable weapon against the Arrancars. Speaking of showing off new strength, Chad’s battle against his opponent with an afro and the same flashy appeal of Dordoni is not only about brute force but it shows that Chad’s training with Renji and Uruhara has revealed Chad’s true power.
There’s more on the Chad front but saying more would ruin the surprise. All I can say is that unlike his visit to the Soul Society with Ichigo and his friends, Hueco Mundo has awakened something in him. This volume has also shown us that even the lesser Arrancars can put up quite a fight so the member of Aizen’s Espadas will be something else altogether. We have yet to see the other Espadas but with Lord Aizen aware of the intruders we will certainly see them all soon.
Concentrating on three individual fight scenes one might think that there’s not anything major to reveal in Volume 29 of Bleach but that’s far from true. As exciting as the fights are in this volume, it’s the little things that Tite Kubo crafts so well but it’s also the big surprises he leaves at the end that compels us to continue following this series. This one proves that Chad is also one seriously awesome brawler.
MANGA REVIEW BREAKDOWN
Ichigo, Uryu and Chad go up against low ranked Arrancars that are trying to not only redeem themselves but are trying to impress Lord Aizen enough to join his elite Espadas. As Ichigo battles the flamboyantly outrageous Dordoni, he unleashes his Hollow ability knowing that he will have to use it in Hueco Mundo often. Chad also shows us that he’s able to go toe-to-toe with the Arrancars.
You just have to love the quirky appearance of all the cast of Hueco Mundo from the lowest ranked Arrancars to the unusual Hollows like Pesche and Nel. To top it all off, Las Noches is a most bizarre-looking stronghold. We would also like to thank Kubo-sensei for the concept sketches at the end of the volume and the bonus “Bleach on the Beach” short.
While the volume is dedicated to three big fight scenes, Volume 29 of Bleach still manages to pack the same punch of past action-packed volumes. We’ve seen Uryu able to hold his own before but watching Chad pull no punches against far tougher foes is a treat. The invasion of Hueco Mundo is about to get more interesting.
Review copy provided by VIZ Media